Protection of Disney Characters: Trademark or Copyright?

  • Siri K. Reddy and R. Rajitha Singh
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  • Siri K. Reddy

    Student at St. Joseph's College of Law, India

  • R. Rajitha Singh

    Student at Bishop Cotton Women's Christian Law College, India

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This research paper talks about the realms of trademarks and copyrights intersecting with the disney characters. The two brain pods, Walt Disney and his brother Roy stepped into the world of animation and cartoons around the 1920s. The popularly known Walt Disney Studio was previously known as Disney Brothers Studio. The creative brothers tasted success by their introduction of “Mickey Mouse” to the world. This paper chalks the timeline of evolution of protection to these characters. This paper focuses on Mickey Mouse Protection Act and The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, 1998. This paper delves into the history of disney and the role of IP in disney’s growth. We have also analyzed the copyright’s act and trademark act pertaining to animated characters in a multi-jurisdictional perspective. The applicability of Lanham Act of 1946 and how it aims to provide for a national system of trademark registration and protects the owner of a federally registered mark against the use of similar marks. The popularity of disney and it strive to achieve global domination is highlighted. Its importance to many Indians has been a topic to delve upon. We have briefly dealt with Disney's journey to India and its effect in captivating the Indian audience. Despite major failure, disney still has over 500 million viewers actively watching and adoring the content on OTT platforms. This paper analyzes Mickey’s copyright protection post the expiration of the act. The Walt Disney company credits its success to AI by means of extensively working towards applying machine learning, artificial intelligence, and visual computing innovation in its works. We also looked into the Berne Convention which mainly deals with copyrights and how it has benefitted disney in protecting its characters. Not only Mickey Mouse has been looked upon but also other disney characters like Pluto, King Kong, Batman, etc.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 2, Page 694 - 709


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